PHE welcomes changes to the UK vaccination programme

The Department of Health, Public Health England (PHE) and NHS
England has today announced a series of changes to the current vaccination schedule to include three new vaccination programmes, which protect against flu, shingles and rotavirus, as well as updating the current meningitis C vaccine schedule.

The rotavirus vaccination programme will start on 01 July 2013 when children under 4 months will be routinely vaccinated against this highly infectious illness, which is the most common cause of vomiting and diarrhoea (gastroenteritis) in infants and young children. Nearly every child will develop gastroenteritis caused by rotavirus by the time they are 5 years old.In children younger than five years in the UK, this infection is responsible for around 140,000 GP visits and 14,000 hospitalisations every year. The vaccine will be administered as a droplet into babies’ mouths during their 2- and 3-month vaccination appointments.In addition, children aged 2 years (around 650,000 in total) will also be offered a nasal flu vaccine from September 2013 as part of a number of pilot programmes to vaccinate primary and pre-school aged children against seasonal flu. The pilot programmes will ensure the NHS is appropriately geared up to roll out the programme in full to all pre-school and primary school children in 2014.

There will also be a shingles vaccination programme introduced for people aged 70, with a catch-up programme for those aged up to, and including, 79 years. Shingles is an infection of a nerve that causes pain and a rash along a band of skin by the affected nerve. Continue reading